20 Weight Loss Tips from People Who Lost 100 Pounds

20 Weight Loss Tips from People Who Lost 100 Pounds

Between navigating the supermarket aisles, vowing to steer clear of breakroom doughnuts, and finding a workout plan that’s not a nightmare to complete, losing weight can get pretty daunting. And if you’ve ever tried to drop a significant amount of pounds, you’re already familiar with the effort and dedication it requires.

But your weight loss journey doesn’t have to be turbulent—there are plenty of ways to slim down without feeling down in the dumps. To rev your efforts of finally shedding that spare tire, we’ve gathered 20 tips from people who’ve lost 100 pounds or more.

Check out their advice below, and if you want healthy recipes, supermarket shopping guides, and essential nutrition tips at your fingertips subscribe to the new Eat This, Not That! magazine now! For a limited time, you can save 50 percent off the cover price—get it here!

Hack the Menu

Couple reading restaurant menuShutterstockFred lost 150 pounds by ordering smart when dining out. He suggests to “[ask] the wait staff about half-portions and [communicate] that you’re on a diet.” — Fred Bollaci, 150 pounds lost

Go Low-Carb

Salad with beans tomatoesShutterstockTwenty-one-year-old Tanisha Washington weighed 276 pounds and woke up to three doughnuts a day for breakfast. Her newborn son influenced her to change her lifestyle, and so she cut her daily doughnuts and started following a low-carb, Atkins-style diet. As a result, she lost 103 pounds and overcame her risk of high blood pressure.

When in Doubt, Write It Out

Diet journalShutterstock“Stop focusing all your attention on diet and exercise. While they are important, they are not the keys to weight loss; they are tools. The key to permanent and lasting weight loss [is] the image you hold of yourself in your mind. If you have been overweight most of your life, the image of you being overweight is normal for your mind and it will hold that image as being true about you. When you try to lose weight, the diet comes into conflict with the image your mind has of you (being obese) and protects it by sabotaging your diet.

Write out how you want to look, feel, and dress, and how you would experience life at your ideal body weight. Create that image with as much detail as you can. Every night as you are falling asleep, review that image in your mind and fall asleep on it. This is powerful and it helped me transform my life.” — Scott Schmaren, 180 pounds lost

Believe in Yourself

Happy woman outsideShutterstock“Over a period of 18 months, through rigorous diet and exercise, I lost 140 pounds [and kept it off]. I was 270 pounds at the onset, pre-diabetic, and having some hard conversations with my doctor [before] I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get my life back. It all starts with believing in yourself and realizing that you are worth it, which is what I tell people every day. It’s about being better than you were yesterday and getting closer every day.” — Jenna Leveille, 140 pounds lost

Clean Up Your Diet

High fat keto foods eggs avocadoShutterstock“I followed a clean diet and lost over 100 pounds by consuming only whole nutrient dense foods. I consumed mostly lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados. A couple of times a week, I would have a sweet potato, brown rice, or quinoa with my meals. Water became my best friend. I also never ate after 7 p.m. and did a lot of batch cooking, so that I would be prepared during the week. I kept this regime going for pretty much my entire weight loss journey. It actually started to become a lifestyle change and a way of life rather than a diet.” — Nia Rennix, 120 pounds lost

Find New Pastimes

RunningShutterstock“Food was my addiction. I turned to it when I was stressed or depressed. After the [bariatric] surgery, I physically can’t eat as much, so I learned to find new coping mechanisms. Now I exercise instead!” — Rachel Lisner, 194 pounds lost

Add Variety to Your Workouts

Woman exercising with weightShutterstock“I love variety and I can get bored easily, so I like to work out in different ways. I enjoy swimming, pilates, spinning classes, and exercise DVDs at home. I especially like working out when I don’t even realize I am doing it—like walking to places or even [doing] adventure circuits.” — Fay Marshall, lost 120 pounds

Avoid ‘BLTs’

Woman looking at cupcakesShutterstockCharlene lost 100 pounds and kept it off by avoiding “bites, licks, tastes, and sips,” which she terms “BLTs.” “Don’t think of food as a reward. You don’t ‘deserve’ a treat, and [you’re] not ‘depriving yourself’ if you don’t have it. It’s not about never having a cupcake, it’s about not always having a cupcake.” — Charlene Bazarian, 100 pounds lost

Enjoy Your Workout

Woman taking deep breathShutterstock“Exercise every day if you can manage it. Pick something you love doing. Some days it’s a couple of laps around the building during my lunch break; sometimes it’s 3 sets of 7 of a single lift. [And] sometimes it’s a 3-mile run or an hour of focused training.” —Reddit user cenosillicaphobiac, 105 pounds lost

10 Keep Healthy Foods on Hand

Hard boiled eggShutterstock“I boil eggs and keep them in the fridge to snack on. Similarly, I do the same with chicken drumsticks. I always make sure I have low-fat cheese, fruit, yogurts, and vegetables available.” — Fay Marshall, 120 pounds lost

11 Shop the Perimeter

Woman grocery shoppingShutterstock“Shop the outside aisles of the supermarket,” Charlene, who lost 100 pounds, suggests. Supermarkets often stock the outer aisles of the store with healthy, perishable items such as produce, lean meats, and dairy while packaged and processed goods often live in the inner aisles. Sticking to the perimeter of the store is just one of The 46 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever.

12 Revamp Your Fast Food Habits

McDonald's mealShutterstock“It gets easier every day to make healthier food choices. My tastes have definitely changed, but I still eat fast food a few times a month. However, I choose to eat smaller quantities and plan my day around higher-calorie options. I personally skip the fries and focus on getting one to two items with protein, like a cheeseburger from Burger King (280 calories), two steak fresco tacos from Taco Bell (280 calories), or a chicken sandwich from Chik-fil-A (440 calories). Many local pizza places sell by the slice, and that’s a big help for me. If I have a whole pizza delivered and I can only eat two slices, I’m going to be thinking about the other six sitting in the fridge.” — Reddit user snail_lane, 156 pounds lost

13 Focus on the Victories

Women runningShutterstock“No matter how many times you tried, treat this time as your first time. I found that helped as I wasn’t focused on all the negatives and the times it didn’t work—I believed I could do it. Take it one day at a time and celebrate the small victories—they all count! Find ways to incorporate the things you love into your new weight loss journey so that you never feel deprived.” — Fay Marshall, 120 pounds lost

14 Reduce Portion Sizes

Plate with portionsShutterstock“In the beginning, I mostly made small, manageable steps. My routine amounted to an hour of walking, five days a week, cutting out candy, and [reducing] my dinner portions. Most days I would only eat dinner and snacks (although there was a lot of dinner and a lot of candy; I did and still love chocolate), so that alone made a pretty big impact.” — Reddit user RobertGringoIsDead, 120 pounds lost

15 Count Your Calories

Man counting caloriesShutterstock“I lost the weight in 50-pound increments but I had a couple times where I did gain back some weight. At least for me, it was all about measuring my intake. If I didn’t measure and weigh everything I was eating I would have never made it this far. I was making progress for a while with portion [control] and calorie tracking. I started to feel like I was counting too much and not eating enough. I thought I had control, so I stopped counting. Bad idea. If anyone here is counting and weighing and keeping track of intake, keep it up—it’s worth it.” — Reddit user Shocky_Jockey, 100 pounds lost

16 Combine Cardio and Weight Lifting

Woman weight liftingShutterstock“I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and began counting calories (I’m proud of my 576-day streak!) and then slowly started working out again. I was a member of the girls’ weightlifting team at my high school, so I had a good framework for creating my own exercise program. Initially, I was working out five days a week. I started with 15 to 20 minutes of cardio, alternating between the elliptical and walking on the treadmill [and lifting weights].” —Reddit user snogboxx, 101 pounds lost

17 Meal Prep Like a Pro

Lunch boxShutterstock“I start with a meat, since that’s my favorite thing to eat. Do I want chicken, pork, steak, beef, fish or ham? Vegetarian? Beans and tofu are also great sources of protein. Once I decide on a protein, I’ll think about what cuisine sounds good. Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Greek, BBQ? Next, I select what veggies will complete the flavor profile. This is where you can get really creative. For carbs, I typically stick to sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa, as they are complex carbs and keep you fuller longer. Honestly, meal prep can be as easy or as hard as you make it. If I have a busy week, slow cooker or frozen prep it is.” — Reddit user hxcjosh23, 130 pounds lost

18, Try Intermittent Fasting

Meal prepShutterstock“I don’t eat breakfast anymore. I prefer to only eat a light lunch and larger dinner. This was the easiest plan for me. I never go to bed hungry.” — Reddit user cajun9, 100 pounds lost

19, Spice Things Up

Cayenne pepperShutterstock“Eating spicy foods can help boost your metabolism and burn calories.” — Fred Bollaci, 150 pounds lost

Sleeping womanShutterstock“I really believe our body goes into survival mode when we’re low on sleep and gets stubborn about releasing weight as a result. My first big win in my weight loss journey was developing an early to bed, early to rise lifestyle.” — Nick Wolny, 105 pounds lost 

26 Weight Loss Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based

The weight loss “industry” is full of myths.

People are being advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them.

Over the years, however, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.

Here are 26 weight loss tips that are actually evidence-based.

1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals
Weight Loss Tips

It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss, and this is true.

Drinking water can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories (12).

One study showed that drinking a half liter (17 oz) of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight (3).

2. Eat Eggs For Breakfast

Eating whole eggs can have all sorts of benefits, including helping you lose weight.

Studies show that replacing a grain-based breakfast with eggs can help you eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours, and lose more weight and more body fat (45).

If you can’t eat eggs for some reason, then that’s fine. Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick.

3. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black)

Coffee has been unfairly demonized. Quality coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and can have numerous health benefits.

Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3-11%, and increase fat burning by up to 10-29% (678).

Just make sure NOT to add a bunch of sugar or other high-calorie ingredients to it. That will completely negate any benefit you get from the coffee.

4. Drink Green Tea

Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.

Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, but it is also loaded with powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are also believed to work synergistically with the caffeine to enhance fat burning (910).

Although the evidence is mixed, there are many studies showing that green tea (either as a beverage or a green tea extract supplement) can help you lose weight (1112).

5. Cook With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is very healthy. It is high in special fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than other fats.

These fats have been shown to boost metabolism by 120 calories per day, and also reduce your appetite so that you eat up to 256 fewer calories per day (1314).

Keep in mind that this is not about adding coconut oil on top of what you’re already eating, it is about replacing some of your current cooking fats with coconut oil.

6. Take a Glucomannan Supplement

A fiber called glucomannan has been shown to cause weight loss in several studies.

This is a type of fiber that absorbs water and “sits” in your gut for a while, making you feel more full and helping you eat fewer calories (15).

Studies have shown that people who supplement with glucomannan lose a bit more weight than those who don’t (16).

7. Cut Back on Added Sugar

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, and most people are eating way too much of it.

Studies show that sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, as well as diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and others ( 171819).

If you want to lose weight, you should be cutting back on added sugars. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.

8. Eat Less Refined Carbs

Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (includes white bread and pasta).

Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity (202122).

If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber.

9. Go on a Low Carb Diet

If you want to get all the benefits of carb restriction, then consider taking this all the way and going on a low carb diet.

Numerous studies show that such a diet (or “way of eating”) can help you lose 2-3 times as much weight as a standard low-fat diet, while improving your health at the same time (232425).

10. Use Smaller Plates

Using smaller plates has been shown to help people automatically eat fewer calories in some studies. Weird trick, but it seems to work (26).

11. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories

Portion control (eating less) or counting calories can be very useful, for obvious reasons (27).

There are also studies showing that keeping a food diary and writing down what you eat, or taking pictures of all your meals, can help you lose weight (2829).

Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be useful.

12. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry

Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry.

A few snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare include whole fruits, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and a hardboiled egg (or two).

13. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner

Although I’m not aware of any studies on this, many people recommend brushing your teeth and/or flossing right after dinner. Then you won’t be as tempted to have a late-night snack.

14. Eat Spicy Foods

Spicy foods like Cayenne pepper contain Capsaicin, a compound that can boost metabolism and reduce your appetite slightly (3031).

15. Do Aerobic Exercise

Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.

It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease (3233).

16. Lift Weights

One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode (3435).

The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass (3637).

Of course, it’s not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good. Doing some sort of resistance exercise is critical for that.

17. Eat More Fiber

Fiber is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber (especially viscous fiber) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term (3839).

18. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss.

They contain few calories, but a lot of fiber. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling.

Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less (40). These foods are also super healthy and nutritious, so eating them is important for all sorts of reasons.

19. Chew More Slowly

It can take a while for the brain to “register” that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss (4142).

20. Get Good Sleep

Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.

Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults (43).

21. Beat Your Food Addiction

A recent 2014 study of 196,211 individuals found that 19.9% of people fulfil the criteria for food addiction (44).

If you suffer from overpowering cravings and can’t seem to get your eating under control no matter how hard you try, then you may be a food addict.

In this case, get help. Trying to lose weight without dealing with this problem first is next to impossible.

22. Eat More Protein

Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight.

Eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day (454647).

One study also showed that protein at 25% of calories reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, while cutting the desire for late night snacking in half (48).

This is the single most important tip in the article.

Simply adding protein to your diet (without restricting anything) is one of the easiest, most effective and most delicious ways to lose weight.

23. Supplement With Whey Protein

If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement can help.

One study showed that replacing part of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds, while increasing lean muscle mass (49).

24. Don’t Drink Calories, Including Sugary Soda and Fruit Juices

Sugar is bad, but sugar in liquid form is even worse (50). Studies show that liquid sugar calories may be the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet.

For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving (51).

Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like coke (52).

Eat whole fruit, but use fruit juice with caution (or avoid it altogether).

25. Eat Whole, Single Ingredient Foods (Real Food)

If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single ingredient foods.

These foods are naturally filling, and it’s very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based around them.

Keep in mind that real food doesn’t need a long list of ingredients, because real food IS the ingredient.

Here is a list of the 20 most weight loss-friendly foods on earth.

26. Don’t “Diet,” Eat Healthy Instead

One of the biggest problems with “diets,” is that they almost never work in the long term.

If anything, people who “diet” tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain (53).

Instead of going on a diet, make it your goal to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it.

Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect.